2-0! The Kardiac-Kaws have done it again! After a bit more of an offensive performance (that didn’t wait till the 4th Quarter), the St. Louis Battlehawks went on the road in a short week and handed the Seattle Sea Dragons their second consecutive heart-breaking loss. Despite some clear issues that reared their ugly face again for the second consecutive week, Coach Becht’s team was able to take advantage of the Sea Dragons turnovers and possibly questionable coaching decisions.
St. Louis Battlehawks Key Performers:
1. AJ McCarron Quarterback
Another gutsy performance by the former Alabama Crimson Tide Star. McCarron put together another respectable stat line of 22/36 184 yds 1 TD while adding 5 carries for 41 Yards and another touchdown on the ground. Despite being under pressure constantly McCarron remained calm, cool and collected avoiding pass rushers Shareef Miller, and Niko Lalos even hitting Hakeem Butler for a touchdown despite facing a “Zero Blitz”. With six drops by his receivers McCarron is playing way better than his stat line indicates, and continues to provide the Battlehawks younger players with leadership and guidance, that has translated into Two gutsy wins for St. Louis.
2. Kevin Atkins Defensive Tackle
Atkins production could not be measured strictly by his statistics as the former Fresno State Bulldog was constantly creating havoc and pressure in the backfield for Ben DiNucci. Earlier in the week Coach Anthony Becht discussed the high motor of Atkins, and the fact he’s constantly around the ball. This week we saw Atkins recover two fumbles while also constantly forcing DiNucci out of the pocket. With the Battlehawks Defensive Line Coach La’Roi Glover constantly rotating his lineman in and out look for Atkins to continue to provide a dynamic spark on the Defensive Line, creating havoc as the season goes on.
3. Hakeem Butler Wide Receiver
After thinking about stepping away from football at one time, Hakeem Butler is now going back to weeks, scoring Touchdowns for the St. Louis Battlehawks in the XFL. After a dropped Touchdown earlier in the game Butler and McCarron connected for a 44-yard Touchdown that gave the Battlehawks the lead with Eight Minutes left in the 4th Quarter. For the Battlehawks it appears the team has found another weapon who consistently seems to be making plays when St. Louis needs it most.
Post Game Analysis:
The Battlehawks Thursday night, match up against the Sea Dragons once again came down to wire for St. Louis. Despite six drops by Battlehawks pass catchers, AJ McCarron and company continued to move the ball a bit more effectively than their Week One performance. The Battlehawks also began implementing Dallas Warmack at the Guard position throughout the game and often times seemed to run the football behind him. After an anemic rushing performance in Week One, St. louis Running Backs Kareem Walker, and Mateo Durant seemed a bit more comfortable this week as the Battlehawks did eclipse 100 rushing yards as a team aided by AJ McCarron’s 41 yards on the ground. While improvements in run blocking were clearly evident, the St. Louis Offensive Tackles struggled throughout the game often times getting beat by dynamic Sea Dragons Pass Rushers Shareef Miller, Tuzar Skipper, and Niko Lalos, forcing McCarron outside the pocket more times than not.
While the Battlehawks defense wasn’t as statistically eye popping as Week One, the front seven managed to constantly create pressure and keep DiNucci uncomfortable and on the move throughout the whole game. While the Battlehawks defense was efficient. The team did have several missed tackles with Coach Becht stating he believed that number was around 12. However, despite missed tackles and opportunities the Battlehawks constantly swarmed to the ball, ensure two or three grey jerseys were around the Sea Dragons ball carries at all times.
Despite former San Diego Fleet Kicker Donnie Hageman missing two field goals, Becht and Boller’s guy made the game winning kick when it mattered most from 44-yards. With St. Louis riding high on two thrilling victories Coach Becht and company remain undefeated going into Week 3. While the Battlehawks Offensive Line remains an area of concern, the team has been able to remain competitive by playing turnover free football, in addition to solid defense, and MVP caliber play by AJ McCarron.
With the Battlehawks recent string of success in anticipation of their return to St. Louis, the team has decided to open the 300 Level of the “Dome” for Week Four’s game against the Arlington Renegades. However, with the Defenders on the horizon for Week Three, the team must first take care of business at Audi Field, before coming back home. Regardless of what happens next week, for the remainder of Week Two fans of the XFL are beginning to realize that Ka-Kaw is still the law in 2023.
For another recap see my breakdown on my personal channel Analyze and Educate below.
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